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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4543

Mr Kennedy asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Does the National Health and Medical Research Council advise the Commonwealth and State Governments on matters concerning the health of the public and on all matters of public health legislation and administration.

(2)   If so, in what instances has it given advice.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   One of the functions of the NH & MRC is to inquire into, advise and make recommendations to the Commonwealth and the Slates on matters of public health legislation and administration and on any other matters relating to health, medical and dental care and medical research.

(2)   The first session of the NH & MRC was held in February 1937. The Council has since met at least twice a year, with advice and recommendations on a wide range of matters affecting the health of the community flowing from these sessions to both Commonwealth and State Governments. A complete record of recommendations made by the Council is available in the form of sessional reports, but the magnitude of the task of extracting details of each individual recommendation from these reports makes it impracticable to provide a complete answer to the honourable member's question. Recent sessional reports of Council are available in the Parliamentary Library. Specific information on any particular subject of the Council's recommendations could be made available to the honourable member if he so requested. Listed below, under broad headings, are the main subjects on which the Council has considered it necessary or desirable to provide advice or recommendations. controls over the possession, use, storage and labelling of drugs and poisons; industrial hygiene and occupational health; maternal and child health; dental health; environmental factors which may affect health; prevention and control of mental illness, and the care and rehabilitation of patients with menial illness; traffic injuries; health education; recruitment and training of nurses, and the practice of nursing; matters relating to ionising radiation; the promotion and preservation of health in the tropics; and medical statistics on human morbidity and mortality.

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